How Is A Horse Measured? (Question)

Horses are measured from the ground, just beside and behind a foreleg to the top of the withers (shoulders).

How do u measure a horse?

To measure a horse, you should make sure they are standing on an even surface and measure from the ground directly up to the highest point on their withers (A), as shown on the image below. It’s best to use a measuring stick marked with hand intervals, but you can convert from inches or centimetres.

Why are horses measured in hands?

Why are horses measured in hands? Thousands of years ago, there were no measuring tapes lying around (or a metric system, for that matter). People needed a way of measuring their riding horses for purposes of selling and trading, and so they used a unit of measurement that they always had with them – their hands.

What is a 16 hand horse?

A hand is four inches, and a horse who is sixteen hands and two inches will be described as “16.2hh.” Sometimes that number even gets to be a noun, calling a horse of the eponymous height, “a sixteen-two”. They are measured to the wither, the highest point above the horse’s shoulder that doesn’t move.

How tall can Clydesdales get?

Shires are the tallest horses in the world. It is not uncommon for one of these beauties to measure 20 hands. In fact, the biggest horse ever measured is the Shire gelding Sampson, who is now called Mammoth. Mammoth was born in England in 1846 and stood at 21.2-1/2 hands, over 7 feet 2.5 inches tall!

Can a horse be 14.5 hands?

Hands and Other Measurements A horse could never be said to be 14.5 inches, as the number after the decimal is not a fraction, but represents an entire inch. If a horse is 14.2 1/2 HH, that means he’s two and one-half inches over 14 hands.

How big is a hand measuring horses?

hand, ancient unit of length, now standardized at 4 inches (10.16 cm) and used today primarily for measuring the height of horses from the ground to the withers (top of the shoulders). The unit was originally defined as the breadth of the palm including the thumb.

Why are horses called Gee Gees?

GG or gee-gee is a word for horse used by children or in colloquial speech in UK. Wikipedia says that the term “Gee-Gee” is taken from horse-racing where a Gee-Gee is the first horse out of the starting gate. Other sources say that GG is short for the command given to horses to go: “gee up”.

What is a wither on a horse?

Definition of withers 1: the ridge between the shoulder bones of a horse — see horse illustration.

What kind of horse was Secretariat?

Secretariat, byname Big Red, (foaled 1970), American racehorse (Thoroughbred) who is widely considered the greatest horse of the second half of the 20th century.

How many hands is a horse vs pony?

A pony is 14.2 hh (hands high) or smaller, while a horse is anything taller than 14.2 hh. So, a pony is any equine 58 inches at the wither or shorter, and a horse is anything taller than that.

Measuring a Horse’s Height

The image above was borrowed from Pinterest The height of a horse is measured in ‘hands,’ which is a unit of measurement equal to 4 inches. The height of the horse is measured from the ground to the highest point of the withers. There are two popular methods for determining the size of a horse. One method is by the use of a measuring stick. The image above was borrowed from Pinterest The alternative method involves the use of a measuring tape. The image above was borrowed from Pinterest There is a correct method for calculating and writing down the measurement of a horse.

Here are three additional instances of the proper method to write down a horse measurement in the format shown above.

The.25 refers to a quarter of a hand, which is equal to one because a hand is four inches in length.

The only numbers that are correct to be placed to the right of the decimal point are 0, 1, 2, and 3 due to the fact that a complete hand is 4 inches in length.

The height of miniatures, ponies, and horses is typically determined by their breed: Miniatures – A miniature horse is defined as one that is less than 38 inches tall (approximately equal to 10 hands).

Horses with a height of 14.2 hands or more are considered average horses.

– Jelaluddin Rumi – Get Your Saddle On

Measuring Your Horse’s Height Accurately

If you read advertisements for horses, or if someone tells you about the height of their horse, the likelihood is that they will use the term “hands” to represent the measurement. For example, an extremely tall horse may stand at 17 HH in stature. Ponies are equines with heights less than 14.2 HH. “HH” or “H” is an abbreviation for “hands high” or “hands,” respectively. A hand is a measurement unit for the height of an equine that has been in use for hundreds of years to determine its height.

A hand is four inches wide, which is about the breadth of a male adult’s hand in circumference.

It should be noted that horses are not always measured in hands. The height of horses is measured in cm in some countries and for FEI competition. Ponies, miniature horses, and other small equines may also be measured in centimeters or inches rather than hands, depending on their size.

Hands and Other Measurements

Due to the fact that one hand is equivalent to four inches, fractional hands are given in decimals. When a horse reaches 14.2 hands, it is 14 hands + 2 inches in height. 14 x 4 plus 2 is a total of 58 inches: (14 times 4 plus 2). As a result, it is impossible to say that a horse is 14.5 inches since the number following the decimal is not a fraction, but represents one complete inch. If a horse’s height is 14.2 1/2 HH, it implies he is two and one-half inches taller than the standard 14-hand height.

This is the only portion of the horse’s top line that remains constant regardless of whether he lowers or raises his head or whether he drops or arches his spine.


There are a number different tools that may be used to determine the height of a horse. When measuring the height of a horse, the most precise and straightforward approach is to use an equine height measuring stick. With a horizontal bar that glides up and down the length of the stick, this is a tall stick marked with inch measurements. The stick is held alongside the horse, and the horizontal bar is slid down until it hits the horse’s withers, then the process is repeated. Some sticks are equipped with a leveling bubble, which allows you to be certain that you are holding the stick level.

  1. The difficulty with tape measures is that they are floppy and light, making it difficult to hold them taut enough to obtain an accurate reading.
  2. You are not permitted to place the tape against the horse.
  3. Height tapes are frequently printed with a weight tape printed on the other side of the tape.
  4. Additionally, metal tape measures generate rattling noises that horses might be sensitive to, making it difficult to persuade the horse to remain still long enough to take a measurement with them.
  5. Using the metal weight as a stop, the handler may keep the string firm as he or she inspects the withers and signs the twine with a magic marker.

To make it simpler to obtain a line from the string to the withers, another method is to use a yardstick, piece of lath, or even a whip. Simply position the yardstick so that it sits on the horse’s withers and is parallel to the ground, and record the point at which it touches the tape.

How to Measure

To determine the height of a horse, a number different tools can be used. Using an equine height measurement stick is the most precise and straightforward way. An inch-measured tall stick is attached to a horizontal bar that may be moved up and down the stick as desired. The horizontal bar is slid down until it meets the horse’s withers while the stick is held alongside the animal. Many walking sticks are equipped with a leveling bubble, which allows you to be confident that you are keeping the stick level at all times.

  1. In addition to being light and floppy, tapes are difficult to keep taut for long enough to obtain an accurate reading on them.
  2. It is not permissible to place the tape against the animal.
  3. The opposing side of height tapes is frequently printed with a weight tape.
  4. Aside from that, metal tape measures generate rattling noises that horses might find irritating, making it harder to coax the horse into standing still for a measurement.
  5. In order to keep the string stable, the handler must look up the withers and mark the twine with a magic marker—a magic marker will suffice in this situation.
  6. The use of a yardstick, piece of lath, or even a whip may make it much easier to get a line from the string to the withers of the horse.

Why Are Horses Measured in Hands? Tradition or More to it?

Any links on this page that direct you to things on Amazon are affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a compensation. Thank you in advance for your assistance — I much appreciate it! When it comes to characterizing the height of horses, everyone always utilizes the conventional measurement of the hands. This unusual method of measuring horses piqued my interest, and I was intrigued as to why it was utilized and where it originated, so I did some research to find out more.

In the United States, one hand equals 4 inches, hence a 15 hand horse is 60 inches tall.

Even while measuring the height of horses by hand used to be a valid technique of measurement, it is no longer applicable today. You’ll probably agree that this standard measurement should be maintained once you’ve learned the background information.

History of measuring horses by hands.

Horses have been utilized for transportation, agriculture, and warfare for hundreds of years. The development of a technique for measuring horses by their height in hands was necessary for reliable measurement of horses. Ancient Egyptians utilized a unit of measurement based on bodily parts, including the hands, to measure distances. They assessed the height of a horse by measuring the distance between the ground and the top of its front leg, with fists or open palms serving as units of measure.

It was necessary to establish a defined unit due to the widespread usage of horse-trading.

Buyers and sellers of horses were able to use the constant breadth of the horse as a common reference point.

Following a more in-depth explanation of how we measure a horse, we will examine the significance height plays in the lives of racehorses.

Standard hand measurements started in the 1500s.

Other European countries, as well as the Federal Equestrian International (FEI), use meters as their primary unit of measure. The hand is still the primary unit of measure in the United States, as it is in most English-speaking countries, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Ireland, and so on.

Are other animals besides horses measured in hands?

Do you have any idea how big a hippopotamus is? How about an elephant as an example? Hands are one of the tools that humans use to gauge the size of other animals. Horses, in reality, were not the first animals to be measured in this manner. Hands are one of the most commonly used units of measurement when it comes to measuring other animals, including humans. Historically, humans have used their bodies as a reference point for measuring other objects, which is why this system is believed to have evolved.

There are a couple of reasons behind this.

In addition, the size of human hands was rather consistent throughout species.

However, it is still in use for ponies and other animals.

What are other units of measurementsbased on body parts?

  • The cubit was defined as the distance between the elbow and the tip of the middle finger on the right hand. The average height is around 18 inches. This unit of measurement has been in use in the Middle East for many years. Palms:cubits are subdivided into seven palms, each of which is around 75cm in length. foot: the length of a man’s foot serves as the basis for the unit foot. Digit: The breadth of a finger, which is about 2cm (approximately 13/16 of an inch) in circumference. The “finger” or two of liquor that someone requests is the same height as the finger in a small tumbler. Span: Extend your hand to the point where the tip of your thumb is as far away from the tip of your pinky as feasible. For most people, the distance is known as a “span,” and it is almost precisely half a cubit in length. Thumb: The breadth of a thumb, which was later used as the foundation for the unit of measurement inch

How to properly measure a horse.

Horses are measured from the top of their withers down to the ground. Step one in determining the accuracy of your hand measurement is to position your horse on a level, flat area and measure from the ground to his withers. The withers of a horse are the highest point on the back of the animal. It is located near the base of the neck, right behind the shoulder. Because withers are stable, they are selected as the measuring point for this procedure. Because a horse’s head is always moving up and down, it would be difficult to take a measurement from it.

A horse’s back might be arched, or he could have a naturally low or high back, depending on his breed. It would be difficult to obtain an exact measurement. When measuring a horse, the withers are the most stable location to measure from.

Horse measuring sticks are easy to use.

It is perfectly OK to measure horses using an ordinary tape measure. However, it may be difficult to maneuver around horses while still getting an exact measurement. A measuring stick is the most straightforward tool to use and provides the highest possibility for the user to accurately measure an animal. Horse height and weight tapes are available on Amazon for a reasonable price (see this link for more information). Measurement sticks are long bars with markings attached to them, with a horizontal bar that glides up and down the rod as you measure.

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These instruments produce a more precise output and contain indications to distinguish between hands, inches, and centimeters, allowing for simple conversion between the three units.

However, fractional hands do not transfer to decimal hands in the same way.

Converting hands to inches is simple.

If this were written in the traditional decimal format, it would be written as 14.5 instead of 14. The.5 would represent one-half of four inches. The horse in our illustration stands at 58 inches in height. 58 inches is equivalent to 14/4=56 + 2 inches, or 58 inches. The normal riding horse will typically stand between 15 and 17 hands tall. While a draft horse may reach heights of over 20 hands, tiny horses can only achieve heights of less than eight hands. To learn more about the size of jockeys, go visit this page.

What is the average height of a horse in hands?

Do you have a horse of your own? Alternatively, are you considering purchasing one? If this is the case, you may be wondering how large they grow. At the withers, the typical height of a horse is around 15 hands tall. Taking this measurement begins at the highest point on the horse’s back, which is located immediately in front of the shoulder blades. Please don’t be concerned if your horse is a bit taller or shorter than this; horses come in a variety of forms and sizes. Some breeds, like as the Shire, are renowned for being on the taller side of the spectrum.

So, how does your horse’s height compare to that of the general population?

Several popular horse breeds’ typical heights are included in this section.

Horse Breed Height in hands
Thoroughbred 16 hands
Quarter Horse 15.1 hands
Arabian 15 hands
Shire 17 hands
Friesian 15.3 hands
Morgan 15 hands
Standardbred 15.5 hands
Icelandic 13 hands
Belgian 16.5 hands
Appaloosa 15 hands
Tennessee Walking Horse 15.2 hands

Heights of Different Types of Horses: How Do You Compare?

Worldwide, there are three basic varieties of horses to be found, and each of these groups is distinct in its own way. When it comes to horses, one of the most remarkable characteristics is their height, which varies widely from one breed to another. Large draft breeds, Warmbloods, and hot-blooded horses are the three most common types of horses in existence. All horses, but particularly large draft types, stand between 16 and 18 hands high, making them the tallest of all breeds.

Compared to the draft breeds, warmbloods are slightly shorter on average, standing at around 15.2-16.2 hands high in most cases. Finally, hot-bloods are the smallest of the three species of horses on average, standing at an average height of 15.2 hands high on average.

Does the entire equestrian world use the hand unit of measurement?

A topic that has baffled me for years is whether or not we all measure horses in hands, or whether this is a uniquely American phenomenon. There are many various ways to measure horses across the world, and many countries have their own unique methodology, as it turns out. Throughout the globe, horses are measured in a variety of different ways, but the Hand is the most often used unit of measurement. Horses are most commonly measured in hands in the United States, Canada, Australia, and parts of Europe, although in other countries like as France, Spain, and Germany, horses are most commonly measured in meters.

Do Taller Racehorses Run Faster?

The height of certain Thoroughbreds always astounds me when I’m at the track, and this is no exception. Each season, they appear to grow in height relative to the preceding season; this led me to ponder if horses are being bred for height and if taller horses run quicker than shorter horses. Taller racehorses do not run quicker than their shorter counterparts. The height of a racehorse is not a factor in determining its running speed. In comparison to thoroughbreds, quarter horses are lesser in height, yet they are faster over certain distances.

What matters is the length of the step as well as the frequency of the stride.

Stride length is critical to horse speed.

A horse’s stride is the distance it travels in a single bound when running. A horse’s stride is defined as the distance between where his front foot first contacts the ground and where that same foot strikes the ground again. The typical stride length of a racehorse is around 20 feet. The champion Man O’ War, on the other hand, had a stride length of 28 feet.

Stride rate is important in racehorse speed.

The stride rate (also known as the turnover ratio) is the number of strides a racehorse completes in a given amount of time. For the most part, racehorses run between 130 and 140 strides per minute on the track. Because they are faster, they will be able to increase their speed without slowing down. Champion horses may move at a rate of more than 160 strides per minute in some cases. Quarter horses, on average, move more quickly than thoroughbreds in their stride pace. Thoroughbreds, on the other hand, must sustain their stride across a greater distance and for a longer period of time.

The proper equilibrium of the body’s anatomical systems is required for the racehorse to run efficiently while taking such a lengthy stride and sustaining a high stride frequency.

Horses draw in a lot of oxygen when running.

The intake of oxygen must be enhanced. Horses breathe through their noses as they stretch their bodies during a race, and when they tighten their legs inside, they exhale through their mouths. The heart of a racehorse must also be operating at peak performance. The heart of an aracehorse can pump up to 75 liters of blood per minute, increasing the number of oxygen-rich red blood cells in the body’s circulation.

During the race, this ensures that the horse receives the essential oxygen. The heart of a typical horse weighs between 9 and 10 pounds on average. Stride angle is another phrase that is used to describe the pace of a horse during racing.

Stride angle affects a horses speed.

Stride angle is a measurement of the distance between a horse’s front and hind feet, which is often taken at the time of a horse’s rear foot pushing off. The stride angle, in other words, is a measure for determining how much a horse will flatten out during a racing event. Racehorses with higher stride angles will have a longer stride length as a result of this. Secretariat had the greatest stride angles of any racehorse, with 110 degrees, according to an analysis of stride angle data. Proponents feel that the stride angle of a racehorse is an important aspect in influencing the success of the horse.

The length of a horse’s stride and the velocity at which it moves are the two most significant characteristics of a fast racer.

Interesting Facts about Smaller Horses:

When a horse walks, the stride angle is the distance between the horse’s front and hind feet. It is often measured at the time of the horse’s rear foot pushing off. The stride angle, in other words, is a measure for determining how much a horse will flatten out during a racing session. As a result, racehorses with greater stride angles will have a longer stride than those with lower angles. Secretariat had the greatest stride angles of any racehorse, with 110 degrees, according to a study of stride angle measurements.

In comparison to their short-striding counterparts, horses who take long strides are more likely to have a better developed energy system.

The fact that you are tall is irrelevant.

  • Seabiscuit was a little racehorse, even for his day. He had a successful racing career and is the topic of several racehorse novels
  • John Henry is another little racehorse who has had a successful racing career. He became the first horse to win more than $4,000,000.00 in a single race. Sir Walter Gilbey wrote a book titled “Small Horses in Warfare,” which was released in 1900 and detailed his career profits of more than $6,000,000.00. After retiring, he spent the rest of his life in retirement. For example, during the Crimean War, horses ridden by Armenian and Bashi Bazouks constantly performed “above the capability of the English Thoroughbred cavalry,” citing example after example of how horses 13.2 to 14.3 excelled large horses in practically every attempt
  • In November of 1889, D. Peschkof, a Cossack, embarked on a journey from Blagoveshchensk, Siberia. Despite the fact that his horse and trappings weighed 180 pounds, he rode 5,478 miles in 193 days on his pony, which was just 12.3 hands in height. During the winter, the pony, called Seri, traveled across Siberia at an average speed of 37 kilometers per day. Incredible! l

What is the tallest horse?

Despite being a racehorse, Seabiscuit was rather little. John Henry is another little racehorse that had a successful racing career and is the subject of several racehorse novels. He became the first horse to win a total of $4,000,000.00 in a single racing season. Sir Walter Gilbey created a book titled “Small Horses in Warfare,” which was released in 1900, and his career earnings topped $6,000,000.00 at the time of his retirement. He provided case after example of how horses 13.2 to 14.3 excelled large horses in practically every effort; for example, during the Crimean War, horses-all under 14.3-ridden by Armenian and Bashi Bazouks routinely performed “above the capability of the English Thoroughbred cavalry,” he said.

Peschkof set out from Blagoveshchensk, Siberia.

During the winter, the pony, called Seri, traveled across Siberia at an average speed of 37 miles per hour.


What is the smallest horse?

The world’s tiniest horse was a 14-inch pony from New Hampshire, which was the smallest ever recorded.

Einstein was his given name. The original horse, on the other hand, was roughly the size of a golden retriever.

How tall is a 16 hand horse in feet?

A sixteen-hand horse stands 5’4′′ tall. Because a hand measurement is 4 inches, a sixteen-hand horse is 64 inches tall (416), or 416 inches tall. When measured in feet, 64 inches equals five foot four and a half inches.

How to Measure the Height of Horses

Article in PDF format Article in PDF format Identifying the size of a horse begins with knowing its height in hands, which is a unit of measurement used to measure height. Each hand symbolizes 4 inches (10 cm) in height, and this is the most common method in which horses’ height is stated. Measure the height of your horse in hands using a horse measuring stick or tape. Alternatively, use a normal measuring tape and convert the measurement to hands. You may figure out how tall your horse is by taking a fast measurement from the hoof to the withers (see illustration).

  1. 1 Before you place your horse, make sure you have a measurement device. Measurements of horses can be taken with a measuring stick or a measuring tape. You can use a conventional measuring tape or a measuring stick that measures in “hands,” but you can also use a special measuring stick that measures in “hands.” A horse measuring stick, on the other hand, is the most convenient and accurate technique to measure a horse fast and correctly. A variety of equestrian supply businesses (tack shops), agricultural supply stores, and other internet vendors carry horse measurement sticks.
  • Preparing to place your horse begins with a measuring device. It is possible to measure horses using a measuring stick or a measuring tape. You can use a conventional measuring tape or a measuring stick that measures in “hands,” but you can also use a measuring stick that measures in “hands.” An precise and rapid measurement of a horse may be accomplished with a horse measuring stick, though. Tack shops, farm supply stores, and other internet vendors all have horse measuring sticks
  • However, they are more expensive.
  • 1 Before you place your horse, make sure you have a measurement tool. Measurement of horses can be done with a measuring stick or a measuring tape. There are particular measuring sticks that measure in “hands,” but you may just use a conventional measuring tape to get the same result. A horse measuring stick, on the other hand, is the most convenient and precise method of measuring a horse. A variety of equestrian supply businesses (tack shops), agricultural supply stores, and internet vendors carry horse measurement sticks.
  • For example, if you have a wash rack with ties in your barn, you might want to put the horse near it. Additionally, the flat, concrete space that you generally use to groom or tack your horse will function perfectly as an alternative
  • Pick a location that is close to anything you can use to tie your horse up so that you can use both hands to measure his length. Advertisement
  • s3 If the horse’s feet are not straight on the ground, they should be moved. You want the hooves to be directly close to each other, with the hips separated by a hip width. It is possible to get an incorrect measurement if one of the feet is placed in front of another.
  • Having the horse’s feet near to each other allows the horse’s legs to be aligned all the way up to the top of its body. On this line you will be measuring your horse’s height
  1. 1 Begin your measurement at one of the horse’s front hooves and work your way back. Place yourself on either side of the horse depending on your preference. Placing the end of the measuring tape or a stick on the ground at the base of the hoof
  • It may be necessary to have an assistant hold the bottom of the measuring tape while you check the measurement at the top
  • This is especially true if you are using a measuring tape.
  • 2 Raise the measuring gadget straight up to the top of the withers and secure it in place. The withers are placed at the top of the shoulders, between the neck and the rear of the neck and shoulders. A horse’s croup is the highest place on his body other than its head.
  • Because a horse’s head swings up and down often, it is difficult to record the exact height of the horse’s poll, which is essentially the highest point on the animal.
  • Although the highest point on a horse is technically the top of its head, generally known as the poll, because a horse’s head goes up and down rapidly, it is impossible to record this measurement correctly
  • Nonetheless,
  • Most measuring sticks feature an attachment that protrudes from the handle and allows for a level measurement to be taken from the withers. If your horse isn’t used to being measured with a measuring stick, this might be a frightening experience for him. When measuring your horse with a stick for the first time, move gently and steadily throughout the process. In order for your horse to feel comfortable, proceed as slowly as necessary when obtaining successive measures.
  1. 1 Make a note of the measurement. Regardless of whether you are using a regular measuring tape or a horse-measuring gadget, make a note of the measurement of your horse immediately soon. While dealing with your horse and putting away the measurement gear, this will assist you remember what you need to do
  • If the measurement is already in your hands, it can be written with a “hh” at the end of the sentence to indicate completion. “Hands up” is represented by this notation.
  • 2 If required, convert an inch measurement into a hand measurement. The length of one hand is equivalent to four inches (10.2 cm), thus divide the measurement by four. For example, if the horse is 71 inches (180 cm) tall, divide 71 by 4 to get the height of the horse. As a consequence, there are 17 hands and just 3 inches (7.6 cm) of material left over. The final height would be 17.3 hands, according to the records.
  • It is possible to record the measurement in the hands instantly if a horse measuring stick or tape is being used, although this is not always the case.
  • It is possible to record the measurement in the hands instantly if a horse measuring stick or tape is being used, although it is not recommended.
  • Consider the following example: If your horse is 162 cm tall, apply the calculation 162 x.39 to get its height. This is equivalent to 63.77 inches.
  • 4 Write sections of the hands in a specified decimal form using a certain format. When a horse’s height includes a piece of a hand, the height is expressed as a decimal after the measurement of the entire hand. It is not, however, a conventional decimal representation. In addition to complete hands, a half hand should be indicated by the number.2, which indicates that it is 2 inches (5.1 cm) in length. Use. A quarter hand is worth one point, while a three-quarter hand is worth three points.
  • Example: If the horse is 16 full hands and 3 inches (7.6 cm) in length, it should be stated as 16.3
  • The decimals.1,.2, and.3 are the only ones you will use in this calculation. if the measurement is any larger than that, it will only be the equivalent of one additional entire hand
  • 5 Measure the height of a horse to evaluate whether or not it is the appropriate size for you. When purchasing or selling a horse, the height of the horse is the most important factor to consider. Being able to determine the exact size of a horse and whether or not a horse will be the appropriate size for them to ride or do the type of job they require is quite beneficial.
  • Choosing a horse under 16 hands tall, for example, will allow you to comfortably get on and off of it if your preference is to ride a horse that is not very large in stature. 16 hands tall is the typical height of an adult horse. If you want a powerful, tall horse that will have a lot of strength and stamina, go for a horse that is above 16 hands tall
  • Otherwise, look for a horse that is under 16 hands tall. A pony is defined as a horse that is less than 14.3 hands in height, regardless of its breed.
  1. Tip:There are additional considerations to consider when considering if a horse is the appropriate size for you, such as the amount of weight it will be required to transport. Advertisement
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Summary of the Article Assure that your horse is standing on firm, level ground and that its front feet are as evenly spaced as possible before taking its height measurement. Grasp a measuring tape and run it up the horse’s front legs to the horse’s withers, which is the top of his shoulders between his neck and back. Equine measurements are normally given in hands, with one hand being equivalent to four inches. If you want to know how big your horse is in hands, divide their height in inches by 4.

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Published at 11:31 a.m. hinHealth,Horse Care,Horse Training A horse’s height may be used to determine whether or not they are still developing, and whether or not they are a horse rather than a pony, according to the breed standard. As a result, I’ve included all you need to know about getting an accurate measurement of your horse’s height in one convenient place. So, how do you determine the height of a horse? If you want to know how tall a horse is, you may take a measurement from the ground alongside their front hoof to the highest point on their back.

If they are standing at their full height when you take the measurement, it will be accurate.

Measuring a Horse’s Height: Step-By-Step Guide

In case you’re a visual learner (like I am), you might find the YouTube video I prepared to bring you through the essential stages below helpful.

Visit this page to learn more about it, but be sure to return here for other useful information, such as my height conversion chart.

How a Horse’s Height Is Measured

In order to accurately measure the height of an animal, it is important to understand the measurement system that has been developed for usage in the horse world. Horses are measured in hands, which is a unit of measurement. In metric units, one hand is equal to 4 inches or 0.1016 meters. It is possible to come across a horse that is 15.2 in height, which indicates that it is 15 hands and two inches tall. The height difference between horses and ponies should be considered when determining your equine’s height when assessing its height.

Anything with a height greater than 14 hands and 2 inches is called a horse.

So, before you start telling people you have a horse, double-check to be sure it isn’t a pony instead!

Tools Needed for Measuring a Horse’s Height

Now that you’ve learned about the measurement unit you’ll be using, the next thing you’ll need is an instrument to use to measure the height of your horse. An old-fashioned measuring tape is perhaps the most straightforward and widely available instrument for determining the height of your horse. The majority of hardware and convenience stores have them at a reasonable price. A horse height tape is the alternative that I choose to go with. The one I picked is particularly useful because it also functions as a weight tape!

Keep in mind that if you decide to use a height tape, you’ll need to make certain that it’s stretched tightly and vertically.

If you don’t mind investing a little extra money and want to appear like a professional when measuring your horses, an official horse height stick is a good investment.

Here is the link to Amazon, where you can get the one I recommend.

Preparing Your Horse for a Height Measurement

The preparation of your horse for height measurement should begin as soon as you have determined your technique of measuring your horse’s height. First and foremost, I recommend that you measure your horse on flat ground in order to guarantee that your height measures are as precise as possible. Following your discovery of a suitable location for measuring your horse, the following step is to enlist the assistance of a friend who will hold your horse’s lead line while you take the measurements.

Horses are the most frightened by metal measuring tapes that create odd noises, according to my observations.

Next, make certain that your horse is standing squarely as you take your measurements.

For a visual reference, please see the image lower down on this page. The fact that you have your horse stand square means that they are standing at their full height when you take their height measurement, which is important.

Measure Your Horse’s Height from the Correct Place

It’s time to take your horse’s height into consideration! Perhaps the most crucial thing to remember while measuring is exactly where you need to start your measurement process from. You should take your horse’s withers into consideration by measuring from the ground near one of their front feet to their withers. I’ve drawn a graphic for you below to serve as a visual guide to where you’ll be measuring. When a horse’s height is measured by its withers rather than its head, it does so because it is the highest point on a horse that remains at a constant height.

Here’s another piece of advice to keep in mind when you’re measuring.

This will assist you in ensuring that your measurement is as accurate as possible.

Horse Height Hands Conversion Chart

Here’s an useful conversion chart I put together to assist you better understand how hands translate into our usual units of measurement.

Hands Inches Feet Meters
12.0 48 4ft 0in 1.2192
12.1 49 4ft 1in 1.2446
12.2 50 4ft 2in 1.27
12.3 51 4ft 3in 1.2954
13.0 52 4ft 4in 1.3208
13.1 53 4ft 5in 1.3462
13.2 54 4ft 6in 1.371
13.3 55 4ft 7in 1.397
14.0 56 4ft 8in 1.4224
14.1 57 4ft 9in 1.4478
14.2 58 4ft 10in 1.4732
14.3 59 4ft 11in 1.4986
15.0 60 5ft 0in 1.524
15.1 61 5ft 1in 1.5494
15.2 62 5ft 2in 1.5748
15.3 63 5ft 3in 1.6002
16.0 64 5ft 4in 1.6256
16.1 65 5ft 5in 1.651
16.2 66 5ft 6in 1.6764
16.3 67 5ft 7in 1.7018
17.0 68 5ft 8in 1.7272
17.1 69 5ft 9in 1.7526
17.2 70 5ft 10in 1.778
17.3 71 5ft 11in 1.803
18.0 72 6ft 0in 1.8288

Common Questions About Measuring a Horse’s Height

While there is no historical record as to when or why humans began measuring the height of animals with our hands, it is thought that hands were a common means of measurement for livestock owners long before our regular measurement methods were developed. Because the majority of people’s hands are around the same size, they would have been a readily accessible unit of measurement for breeders and agriculturalists.

When Do Horse’s Reach Their Full Height

During their fourth and fifth years of life, the majority of horse breeds will attain their ultimate height, after which they will continue to fill out for another two to three years after that. Draft horses and draft horse hybrids may continue to grow until they reach the age of eight years. When horses reach their full height, you can read my whole essay on the subject here. If you’re wondering about when your horse will stop growing, you can read it here.

See also:  What Horse Breed Has The Worst Temperament? (TOP 5 Tips)

What Is the Average Height for Horses and Ponies?

Horses are typically 5 to 6 feet tall, or 1.524 to 1.8288 meters tall, on average, according on their breed. For ponies, the typical height is between 4 feet and 4 feet 10 inches tall, which is equivalent to 1.2192 to 1.4732 meters tall. When a horse is young, how can you tell what size he will grow to be? The height of a horse when it is completely grown cannot be predicted with 100 percent accuracy; nonetheless, there are various methods for estimating how large or little the horse will be when it is fully grown.

  1. Horses, by the time they are 12 months old, have already grown to 90 percent of their maximum height.
  2. What is the appropriate height of the horse I should ride?
  3. Having lesser size yet feeling comfortable riding a higher horse is quite acceptable in this situation.
  4. When selecting a horse, it is more necessary to consider how much weight the horse will be able to carry safely.

You may read my post on how much weight horses can carry by clicking here. P.S. If you would want to show your support for me, please forward this post to others. Subscribe to my YouTube channel for weekly horse videos by clicking here.

How to Measure a Horse Height & Weight?

In order to describe your horse to someone, you would most likely highlight the breed, color, and speed of the horse in question. However, on particular instances, including as formal contests, it is required to specify the equine body measurements of the competitors. You might wonder how to measure a horse because horse classification necessitates exact measurements of height and weight. Let’s have a look at your available alternatives.

Reasons to Measure Your Horse

Once you’ve met and been acquainted with your horse, you’ll learn about its lifestyle, habits, food, and overall personality. Then you should keep track of its weight and height on a regular basis. If you have a foal, taking frequent measurements will help you to keep track of its growth and development. You will be able to prepare appropriate meals and detect any health concerns earlier if you do so. When administering treatment to a horse, it is also critical to know the exact weight of the horse.

Finally, such precautions are important while purchasing equipment, particularly saddles, which are available in a variety of forms and sizes.

Measuring Horse Weight

In general, tall horses weigh more than shorter horses, although the exact weight of a horse varies on a variety of factors. Breed, age, food, and physical activity are the most significant factors to consider. For example, two horses of the same height and weight can be separated by more than 500 pounds (227 kg). There are a variety of methods for measuring your horse. The most efficient and precise method is to use a scale. Horses, on the other hand, are large animals, making proper scales difficult to come by and expensive.

  1. Alternatively, a trailer scale or an industrial scale might be used to weigh the horse.
  2. Fortunately, you have two additional solutions that are easily relevant no matter where you are.
  3. If you don’t mind a little arithmetic, you can measure the heart girth and body length of your horse.
  4. Then, measure the distance between an animal’s withers and its buttocks to obtain its body length, then apply the following formula to establish the weight of a horse in pounds: Adult horse weight is calculated as (girth x girth x body length) / 300.
  5. It is more efficient, and you will not stress the horse by repeatedly measuring and attempting to obtain exact findings.

Girth length

30 inches (76 cm) 100 pounds (45.5 kg)
45.5 inches (116 cm) 300 pounds (136.5 kg)
55 inches (140 cm) 500 pounds (227 kg)
64.5 inches (164 cm) 800 pounds (364 kg)
70.5 inches (178 cm) 1,000 pounds (455 kg)
75.5 inches (192 cm) 1,200 pounds (454 kg)
77.5 inches (197 cm) 1,300 pounds(591 kg)

It’s important to remember that measuring a horse with a high and spiky wither might be difficult.

Consequently, after a few tries, you will most likely receive various, frequently nonsensical, and useless numbers. This is especially true for beginners.

Horse Weight by Breed

Always keep in mind that measuring a horse with a high and spiky wither might be challenging. Consequently, after a few tries, you will most likely obtain various, frequently nonsensical, and useless values. This is especially true for beginners.

Horse weight by breed

Breed Average weight
Miniature Horse 200 to 500 pounds (91 – 227 kg)
Quarter Horse 1,000 to 1,300 pounds (454 – 589 kg)
Welsh Cob 1,000 to 1,300 pounds (454 – 589 kg)
Andalusian 1,200 to 1,300 pounds (544 – 589 kg)
Clydesdale 1,600 to 1,800 pounds (726 – 816.5 kg)
Shire 1,700 to 2,700 pounds (771 – 1225 kg)

The Shire called Samson was the world’s biggest horse, weighing 3,359 pounds at the time of its death (1,524 kg). It was also the world’s tallest horse at the time of its capture. Miniature horses, on the other hand, are little and light creatures, weighing between 200 and 500 pounds on average (91 to 227 kg).

Calculating Horse Height

Apparently, many people believe that tall horses are faster than short horses, for whatever reason they believe this. However, there is no direct relationship between the height of the horse and its speed. Tall horses may appear to be more vigorous, athletic, and even intimidating, but their speed is actually determined by the length and frequency of their strikes. Since ancient times, the hand has been used to determine the height of a horse. The length of one hand is equal to four inches, so a horse measuring 62 inches in height is 15.5 hands (157.5 cm) tall.

Maintaining a horse’s position on the ground level and measuring it with a tape measure or a measuring stick is recommended.

It is preferable to enlist the assistance of a third party during the procedure.


9 hands 400 to 500 pounds (181 – 227 kg)
10 hands 530 to 600 pounds (240 – 272 kg)
11 hands 660 to 700 pounds (299 – 317.5 kg)
12 hands 700 to 800 pounds (299 – 363 kg)
13 hands 800 to 860 pounds (363 – 390 kg)
14 hands 900 to 1,200 pounds (408 – 544 kg)
15 hands 880 to 1,200 pounds (299 – 544 kg)
16 hands 1,100 to 1,400 pounds (499 – 635 kg)
17+ hands 1,500 to 2,200 pounds (680 – 998 kg)

Remember that, unlike when measuring horse weight, you should not lay the tape directly on the animal’s skin. Hold a measuring stick or tape absolutely vertically adjacent to the horse’s body, rather of a ruler. For practical reasons, the majority of owners choose to use a stick, which is a long metal rod with a bubble in a little glass drop. It is important to remember to measure the height of the horse from the top of the withers to the ground. When measuring, you may use the drop to establish the proper angle to use.

Knowing the height of your horse will allow you to determine its weight more accurately.

Pick a Right Horse for Yourself

In theory, you can ride any horse that is capable of supporting your weight. Despite this, many riders evaluate and select a horse based on the build, stamina, and temperament of the animal. Because it is critical to pick an animal that is a good fit for your measurements, knowing the exact height and weight of your horse is critical.

Rider inside leg

24 inches (61 cm) 10 hands
26 inches (66 cm) 10.3 hands
28 inches (71 cm) 11.2 hands
30 inches (76.2 cm) 12.2 hands
32 inches (81.3 cm) 13.1 hands
34 inches (86.4 cm) 14 hands
36 inches (91.4 cm) 15 hands
38 inches (96.5 cm) 15.3 hands
40 inches (102 cm) 16.2 hands

If you are tall, riding a little horse will not be a pleasant experience since your legs will be just over the ground. As a result, you should seek for a more superior animal. The horse’s height should be around 60% of the height of your inside leg in ideal circumstances.

If your inseam is 34 inches (86.4 cm), the minimum horse height should be 14 hands, or 34 inches, in order to accommodate you (86.4 cm). Short individuals, on the other hand, may most likely feel uncomfortable when riding animals that are too enormous for them.

Horse Weight-carrying Capacity

Another thing to consider is that the horse you ride is responsible for transporting both you and all of the essential equipment. When trotting and strolling, a healthy horse can carry a burden equal to 20 to 25% of its own weight without becoming fatigued. If you intend to gallop, the burden on a horse’s back should not be more than 15 percent of the animal’s total weight. As you can see, it is critical to understand the type of weight a horse will carry as well as its intended use before selecting one.

Only such an animal is capable of transporting you, as well as a saddle, blankets, and other supplies.

Your weight

110 pounds (50 kg) 550 pounds (250 kg)
150 pounds (68 kg) 750 pounds (340 kg)
180 pounds (82 kg) 900 pounds (408 kg)
200 pounds (91 kg) 1,000 pounds (455 kg)
250 pounds (113 kg) 1,250 pounds (567 kg)
280 pounds (127 kg) 1,400 pounds (635 kg)
300 pounds (136 kg) 1,500 pounds (680 kg)

Your riding style should also play a role in your decision. The English-style saddle is smaller and has lighter disciplines than the American-style saddle. Because the average Cross Country saddle weighs only 12.7 pounds (5.8 kg), you may choose a horse that is small and lean without having to worry about it.

Saddle type

Riding style Type Weight
Western Roping 45 pounds (20 kg)
Western Cutting 27 pounds (12 kg)
Western Trail 22 pounds (10 kg)
Western Barrel Racing 24 pounds (11 kg)
Western Synthetic 18.9 pounds (8.6 kg)
English Jumping 14.3 pounds (6.5 kg)
English Cross country 12.7 pounds (5.8 kg)
English Synthetic 13.3 pounds (6 kg)

When compared to English riding, many riders believe Western riding to be a more exhilarating, tough, and demanding type of riding. As a result, Western saddles are hefty and thick, and you must choose a horse that is suited to such a situation. Always remember that a rope saddle raises the weight of a horse by 45 pounds (20 kg). A horse like the Shire, which has the necessary power and endurance, is a great choice in such a situation.


According on the breed of horse, the height and weight of an animal might vary greatly. You should, however, always measure the animal before putting it to use. Thanks to the ease with which it may be accomplished using measuring tape or a marked stick, it is not an insurmountable chore.

Measurement Procedure for Horses and Ponies

For constant and precise measurement of horses and ponies, the following step-by-step approach should be followed. According to Iowa 4-H guidelines, the following is allowed:

  • Horses with a height of 14.1 hands (56 inches) or more
  • Ponies with a height of less than 14.1 hands (56 inches)

Show management reserves the right to measure a horse at any time, including after another exhibitor files a grievance against the animal being measured. If the following method is followed, the measurement made at that time will take precedence over any earlier measurements taken before that.

  1. Place the animal on a flat, level area that is free of obstacles. It is preferable to use concrete or asphalt. Place the animal squarely on its four feet, with the animal’s weight evenly spread across all four feet. After you have allowed the horse to stand in a calm way, you should measure its highest point at the withers. The vertical arm of the measuring stick should be solidly on the ground, with the horizontal arm of the measuring stick above the highest point of the withers of the horse (Figure 1). If the animal’s height is measured anyplace other than its highest point of withers, it will not be deemed to be reflective of the animal’s real height. For precision, measure the animal twice, once on each side of its body. The real height of the animal is determined by taking the average of the two measurements. If the animal is wearing shoes, subtract 1/4 inch from the official height to arrive at the final measurement.
Figure 1. Illustration of the placement of a measuring stick


  • Ensure that the measuring stick is straight and impervious to bends, and that it has both a vertical and horizontal level. Equines should not be measured after exerting themselves physically. It is not allowed to take measurements while the animal is being stretched. It is necessary to allow the animal to retain its head in a comfortable and natural attitude throughout transportation. If the measurer suspects that the hooves have been changed, he or she should take measurements at the toe and heel.

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